08.13 Approved Minutes







WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2008, 10:00 A.M.





TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  VOTING:  Eric Bowen, Joe Burgard, Kevin Clark, Benjamin Jordan, Eric Smith and Michele Swiggers (One Vacant). NON-VOTING: David Augustine (Treasurer/Tax Collector), Vandana Bali (Department of the Environment), Richard Berman (Port), Sarah Dennis (Planning Department), Mike Ferry (Fire Department), Laurence Kornfield (DBI), Vacant (MOCD), Marty Mellera (MTA), Virginia St. Jean (DPH), Karri Ving (PUC).




1.        Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting convened at 10:07 a.m.  Present Voting:  Chair Bowen, Members Burgard, Clark, Jordan (10:10), Smith and Swiggers. Non-Voting Present:  Member Ving (10:10).  Non-Voting Excused:  Members Augustine, Bali, Kornfield, and St. Jean; Absent:  Members Berman, Dennis, Ferry and Mellera. 


2.        Approval of the April 9, 2008 Biodiesel Access Task Force Special Meeting Draft Minutes. (Explanatory Document:  April 9, 2008 Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action). Upon Motion by Member Burgard and second by Member Smith, without objection, the April 9, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved as written (Absent:  Member Jordan).


3.        Status of Dogpatch Biofuels Plans submitted to City and County Offices. (Continued Discussion from the April 9, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion)


Member Swiggers reported that Dogpatch Biofuels (1) building permits had been approved by the Planning, Building, and Fire Departments; (2) construction had started two weeks ago; (3) are still waiting for the Fire Department to approve operational permits, and does not foresee any problems; and (4) should be able to open for business after tanks arrive, which should be in 4-6 weeks.


Members Jordan and Ving joined the meeting at this time.


Member Swiggers reported that she had received a lot of help from the biodiesel community and City departments on the permitting and regulatory process and would be happy to share information with other private or city projects.  Chair Bowen inquired whether Member Swiggers would be holding a press event.  Member Swiggers reported that they would focus on opening for the first couple of weeks and then would discuss holding a press event.  Member Burgard recommended that Member Swiggers create a one-page flowchart on how the process was managed that could also be shared with the marine community.   


4.        Biodiesel Access Task Force Major Goals and Initiatives for 2008—Lead members’ review of project scope, elements and timeframe to accomplish goals or initiatives. (Continued from the April 9, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion)


Commission Secretary Monica Fish reported that the Task Force goals and member assignments were listed on page 2 of the April 9 draft minutes, Item 4. 


Goal:  Work on a definition of sustainability for incorporation into the City’s next fuel contract. Member Swiggers reported that she had contacted the City of Portland, talked with them briefly, and would follow-up for additional information.  Member Swiggers stated that she would move forward with extending an invitation to the Purchasing Office to attend a future meeting to discuss the City’s next fuel contract and would contact UC Berkeley for information on their sustainability of biodiesel work. 


Chair Bowen asked Member Swiggers to (1) produce an initial draft for the Task Force to review at the October meeting; and (2) reach out to Portland, EPA Region 9; and extend an invitation to a National Biodiesel Board Sustainability Task Force representative to attend a meeting.   It was recommended that the Task Force discuss what messages they would want to relay to the Office of Contract Administration before contacting them directly.  It was explained that the Master Fuel Contract would be scheduled for renewal on January 31, 2009.  Chair Bowen indicated that he would request an anticipated schedule for the initial draft contract. Member Ving reported that she would bring a copy of the existing contract to the next meeting in order to identify sustainability focus areas. Chair Bowen stated that the Task Force would schedule a special meeting in November to discuss the contract.  Mr. Pascal, Clean Energy Tech Manager, reported on the Mayor’s directive to revise the fuel contract to include (1) local preference, local feedstock sourcing and local fuel production, and (2) to implement a more robust fuel quality assurance program.  


Goal: Permitting Regulations:  Member Swiggers stated that she would provide a flow chart of general permitting regulations.  Member Jordan stated that it would also be a matter of sharing experiences.


Goal: Coordination activities for the National Biodiesel Conference in February 2009:  Mr. Pascal reported that Member Bali is the point person that is coordinating an internal working group meeting that is scheduled for August 26 that would bring city stakeholders together.  A discussion is being held with the conference’s primary production person, and the Mayor has been asked to participate to present a keynote.  Mr. Pascal stated that it is anticipated that recognition would be given to San Francisco on their work to help advance biodiesel.


Goal: Influence policies regarding school buses:  No report was given at this time.


Goal: Reach out to trucker community, especially in the Bayview Hunters Point community about the availability of biodiesel, health benefits, City regulations, purchasing and dispensing options.  This item was folded into the Green Depot agenda item.


Goal: Biodiesel Production Facility:  Mr. David Pascal presented a report under Agenda Item 5.


Goal: Recommend mandate for all gas stations to offer some form of alternative fuel for public access as a future policy statement:  Chair Bowen reported that the ASTM standard diesel specification includes B5 (5%) biodiesel.  Chair Bowen recommended that the Task Force schedule an agenda item to consider and formally approve pursuing a B5 mandate for San Francisco and discuss whether to extend the mandate to marine vessels as well as on-road vehicles.  It was stated that Supervisor McGoldrick was considering sponsorship, and Member Smith stated that he would be discussing sponsorship with Supervisor Mirkarimi as well.  Member Smith stated that he was in favor of a B5 mandate especially because many engine manufacturers will cover engine warranties for Biodiesel B5 and below.


A discussion was held on the challenges that a B5 mandate could present.  Chair Bowen explained that there was initial opposition in Portland from truckers, and the distribution infrastructure was not prepared.  Portland did pass the mandate, convened a working group, and figured out how to implement the mandate.  It was explained that the Environmental Protection Agency had reported that everyone is now happy with the mandate including the truckers and fuel distributors. Chair Bowen recommended that outreach be extended to Portland to learn how San Francisco could repeat their success and learn from their lessons. Member Swiggers recommended determining how many gallons of biodiesel would have to be available to the City and to make sure that there is sufficient local and sustainable supply to meet the mandate.


Goal:  Scale the residential parking permits on the carbon impact of a vehicle…this goal was deleted from the action list.


Public relation marketing outreach…:  Member Smith stated that there were sufficient websites available between the Green Depot, Biofuel Oasis, and Department of the Environment websites, and anyone that took the time to research could find a lot of information on those existing sites.


Public Comment


Mr. Wesley Cadell stated that the Biodiesel Alliance would be holding a meeting in September in Austin, Texas and would be asking for input on their sustainability criteria at that conference.   


Ms. Shannon Devine inquired about the environmental benefits of B100 usage versus lower blends.  Chair Bowen explained that the carbon reduction strategy is to de-carbonize San Francisco’s petroleum fuel.  It was stated that there is some air quality improvement with usage of B5.  Chair Bowen explained that biodiesel is non-linear in its air quality improvements so the greater environmental benefit is with B20 usage and not B100. It was explained that the feedstock source, what engine the fuel is burning in, and other considerations would have an impact on emissions as well.  Ms. Devine recommended offering incentives to truckers to change out the rubber piping as part of the mandate.


5.        Update on the Status of the Biodiesel Manufacturing Plant in San Francisco. (Discussion) SPEAKER:  Mr. David Pascal. 


Mr. Pascal reported that there had been a number of options being considered to address local biodiesel production and there was an assumption that the City would play an active role in determining which option would be implemented; however, most of the options did not meet the City’s goals with respect to locally produced biodiesel.  In addition there was quality assurance concerns associated with how biodiesel would be produced by the City.  It was decided that the City’s contract mechanism would be used to assure that now and in the future, the City would have a reliable source of good quality ASTM biofuel for municipal and other uses.  It was decided that the City would take a less active role in determining a final solution and would let projects succeed or fail on their own business merits.  
Mr. Pascal reported that Darling International is moving forward on their effort and negotiating with the Port of San Francisco on revisions to their lease and preparing to take their recommendations before appropriate agencies.  It was reported that Darling would be making presentations to city agencies either at the end of August/September and the facility may be up and running by the middle of next year if everything happens according to plan.
Mr. Pascal reported that Darling International and the Port are working much more collaboratively and cooperatively in addressing community concerns, and odor mitigation issues.  It was explained that some of the issues would get resolved in a formal lease negotiation while other operational procedures and odor control issues are being worked on outside of the formal lease negotiation. Mr. Pascal reported that he had also received calls from smaller operators, businesses, and start-ups that are primarily focused on the retail market.
Public Comment:
Mr. Don DeSmet, Regional Vice President for West Coast Darling International and the General Manager for the San Francisco plant and Mr. John Bullock, adviser for Darling on all renewable fuel investment opportunities introduced themselves.  
Ms. Devine inquired about business assistance and incentives that the City could offer other biodiesel companies looking to build a processing facility in San Francisco, e.g. waive permitting fees, etc. Mr. Pascal discussed the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development focus on clean tech and biotech specific incentives and recommended that Ms. Devine contact him for information on additional, more general economic incentives. A discussion was held on the City’s philosophy of provision of local fuel stock source.


6.        Status Report on Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on Incentives and Other Measures that the Task Force should take to Promote Biodiesel.  Review and approval of draft letters to send to the Fire Department and other City agencies recommending fee waivers. (Continued from the April 9, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion and Action) SPEAKERS: Chair Bowen and Member Jordan


This agenda item was continued to the October meeting.


7.        Status Report on Discussions with Gas Stations on the Prospect of Selling Biodiesel to Individual Consumers and Green Depot Program Report. (Continued from the April 9, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKERS:  Members Bowen and Smith


Member Smith reported that Green Depot’s grant that was issued by the Department of the Environment ended in June, and that since then, Green Depot and Biofuel Recycling received another grant from the Department that would help promote biodiesel and provide staffing for community outreach.  Member Smith reported that (1) San Francisco Petroleum is offering B100 and has experienced interesting results; (2) Rainbow Grocery is doing well with three-day a week fueling; (3) efforts have been made to reach out to a few other stations to implement biodiesel; and (4) assistance had been provided to Dogpatch Fuels in their efforts. Additional Green Depot activities to promote biodiesel use that were reported included (1) working with the Railyard on their use of biodiesel; (2) holding discussions with Bode Concrete on the City Ordinance requirement for B20 use by vehicles doing public works for more than 20 days outside or be required to get a particulate matter trap; (3) meeting with the produce mart, one of the largest diesel users; (4) meeting with truckers working with Lennar; and (5) meeting with the Navy about using biodiesel for their trucks and off-road vehicles. 


Member Smith explained that California has the highest taxes of any state that uses biodiesel unlike Illinois and Delaware that have tax incentives for people using biodiesel.  If that can change through B5 or something more affordable, through more plants, smaller producers, or Darling’s efforts, more people would want to participate. It was explained that people are interested in biodiesel use, but the high cost is the major obstacle at this time.  A discussion was held on the cost differential between B5, higher blends of biodiesel, and diesel.  Member Smith reported that higher blends seem to cost more, but it varies.  It was explained that maintenance schedules have to be adhered to with biodiesel use which also adds an additional cost, so people are reluctant to pay more.


Member Smith discussed efforts to train Hunters Point and Bayview local residents on green collar jobs that include learning about biodiesel.  Member Smith stated that organizations should do what they can to promote green collar job hiring in order to help people in these communities.


8.        Update on Permitting Regulations for Biodiesel. (Continued from the April 9, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER:  Member Jordan


Chair Bowen requested a report on the status of the Rainbow Grocery permit and on efforts made to contact Mr. Eric Fazio about offering biodiesel at his Shell station on 17th and Potrero.  Member Jordan reported that Rainbow Grocery is fully embracing the mobile fueling truck that is being offered at their loading dock three days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. 

Member Smith reported that Mr. Fazio had been seeking assistance in offering biodiesel at his facility and may have found a solution from the carbon reduction fund program that the Department of the Environment is working on.  Member Jordan reported that a flowchart and a document would be worked on that would provide an understanding of all permitting scenarios.


9.        Hazardous Material Classification of Biodiesel. (Continued from the April 9, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion and Action) SPEAKER:  Member St. Jean


Chair Bowen reported that the state Water Resources Board representatives attended a Task Force meeting last year and earlier this year to report on their concerns about material compatibility with biodiesel and underground storage tanks.  They had issued an advisory letter in February deeming that any tanks containing any amount of biodiesel is not in compliance with state and federal law because it is not a type-approved fuel.  Many cities and counties across the state had been advised that they were not in compliance and were red tagged to not put any more fuel in those tanks. 


The Biodiesel Alliance and National Biodiesel Board had actively engaged the Water Board on this issue, and the Water Board responded that they are just enforcing the law.  There is a bill pending before the state legislature, SB1574 that would create a two-year grace period.   Chair Bowen explained that the reason that there is technical non-compliance is because the Underwriter Laboratory has not certified these underground storage tanks for biodiesel.  It was explained that there is a working group to work on this effort, but it will take years to do so.  Chair Bowen reported that the bill would he heard tomorrow and recommended that people call their legislators, senate representatives, assemblyperson, etc. to support this bill.  If the bill does not pass, it would be a real setback for biodiesel.  Chair Bowen asked if San Francisco would be interested in issuing support for this bill.


Mr. Pascal reported on communication from the Mayor’s Office to Mr. Tom Fung, Fleet Manager, raising concerns that there might be compliance issues with the City’s underground storage tanks.  It was explained that MUNI has been working on issues surrounding the storage tanks, but there may be other City agencies with tanks that are not in compliance.  At this time, efforts are being made to get an entire report on all City underground storage tanks and determine what can be done for those that are not in compliance.  It was explained that Ms. Sue Cone, Department of Public Health, has enforcement authority on behalf of the Water Board within the City and County of San Francisco and would be communicating on actions that could be taken to address their concerns.  Mr. Pascal reported that he would discuss San Francisco’s support of the legislation with the Mayor’s Government Affairs liaisons.  


10.  Informational Report to the Board of Supervisors Update. Review and approval of Draft of Final Report to the Board of Supervisors (Explanatory Document:  Draft Final Report) (Continued from the April 9, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion and Action) SPEAKER: Member Jordan


Member Jordan reported that he would be refining the report and asked Task Force members to send him comments and suggestions. Final approval of the report would be scheduled for the October meeting.  Members were asked to review the report through a report link on the agenda instead of having individual copies printed. 


11.  Update on the Biofuel Recycling Waste Cooking Oil Program. (Continued from the April 9, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKERS: Members Jordan and Ving


Member Ving reported on the success of the joint internship between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Biofuel Recycling Cooperative that included efforts to understand qualities of different types of cooking oil, going out with drivers, operating two diesel vehicles on B100, and attending community outreach meetings with the Southeast community.  Member Ving reported that apprenticeships are being explored for those that have completed the City College program in mechanics or biofuel classes. It was reported that there is work being done on a brown grease to biodiesel component, which would be a three-year demonstration program to understand the economics behind the decisions that any municipality in the world would make to possibly collocate a biodiesel production facility within their treatment works for brown grease and scum, the grease that is skimmed off of their clarifying polls. That demonstration would (1) give an understanding of all of the regulatory issues and existing infrastructure opportunities within a public treatment works; and (2) essentially develop a toolbox for municipalities across the state if they want to pursue this type of endeavor.


Member Jordan reported that the internship program has proven that sustainable municipal utility infrastructure and alternative energy is linked with environmental justice issues with regard to utilities benefitting their surrounding community through good neighbor policies and local job development.  Member Jordan stated that an effort is being made to connect people in the southeast sector with new types of jobs as environmental justice and sustainability energy is linked together.  It was explained that the grease-cycle program is trying to manage organic waste streams and optimize recovery.


Public Comment: Ms. Shannon Devine asked to define small and medium-scale production.  Member Ving reported that medium is 10,000 gallons of trucked brown grease per day, and small is 60 gallons. 


12.  Letter from Tom Escher of Red & White Fleet to Mayor Newsom requesting a Biodiesel Marine Access Point at Pier 47. (Explanatory Document: Letter) (Discussion).  SPEAKER:  Member Ving


Member Ving extended her appreciation to Red & White Fleet for their pioneering and perseverance in continuing to utilize B20 and drawing attention to establishing maritime access points.  Member Ving reported that they are seeing movement and attention from the Port much more than before on this effort.  Member Burgard reported on Mr. Escher’s participation in the Marine Commercial Usage Advisory Board.  Member Burgard stated that Mr. Escher had indicated that he had not yet received a response to the letter, but that he could encourage grant allocation to making biodiesel available. Member Burgard discussed the possibility of a carbon fund project being applied to this effort.  It was explained that the marine industry does not have access at this time, so the objective is to get access, then establish regulatory compliance and offer education.


13.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)  Chair Bowen asked that most of the items on today’s agenda be added to the next meeting’s agenda for continued discussion.  Chair Bowen requested additional agenda items that include: (1) letter of commendation to Dogpatch Biofuels for their success; (2) a longer discussion on the B5 mandate; and (3) Master Fuel Contract--to recommend to the City a definition of sustainability for adoption and developing fuel sources that meet the definition of sustainability. Member Swiggers was asked to invite a representative from the Environmental Protection Agency to attend the next meeting to discuss defining sustainability.


14.  Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Task Force on matters that are within the Task Force’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.


15.  Adjournment. The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting adjourned at 12:00 noon.


** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Task Force office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) upon request to the Task Force Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at [email protected], or (3) on the meeting website as attachments to the agendas or meeting minutes.   


Approved:  October 8, 2008   


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